justin leon

Florida Gators basketball: 2016-17 season in review

It is finally sinking in that Florida Gators basketball season is over. Florida finished the season with a 27-9 overall record while playing the seventh-ranked strength of schedule in the country.

The Gators were road warriors to start the season, playing their first 11 games away from home while Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center was in the final stages of reconstruction. Florida was 8-3 over that span, with its three losses coming to strong opponents in Gonzaga, Duke and Florida State.

Florida won the very first game to be played in Exactech Arena over Little Rock...

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Florida Gators fall short of Final Four vs. South Carolina

The Florida Gators basketball season came to an end on Sunday with a 77-70 loss to South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament East Regional Final. The Gators found themselves on the other end of a hard-fought game as they could not close things out in the final minutes.

Florida’s chances seemed good after playing a relatively poor first half and still taking a 40-33 lead into halftime. A strong start to the second half could have been all the Gators needed to run away with the game, but that story did not play out.

South Carolina cut Florida’s lead to just one point less than four minutes...

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Emotionally exhausted Florida Gators challenged by a quick turnaround

It’s been less than 24 hours since Chris Chiozza drained the buzzer beater to save the season and send Florida Gators basketball to the Elite Eight. It is also less than 24 hours before the Gators take the court at Madison Square Garden once again.

The Gators are coming off the greatest win of the season and fighting complete emotional exhaustion in preparation for what will be the most significant Florida basketball game since 2014.

When the Gators arrived back at their hotel early Saturday morning after 2 a.m., players’ phones were still blowing up, especially Chiozza’s. The hero...

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Elite Eight preview: Florida Gators vs South Carolina

What to know: (4) Florida Gators vs. (7) South Carolina Gamecocks

Game Information
When: Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:20 p.m. (ET)
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, N.Y.
Records: Florida (27-8, 14-4 SEC); South Carolina (25-10, 12-6 SEC)
Coaches: Mike White- 48-23 (2nd season at Florida), 149-63 (6th season overall); Frank Martin- 95-73 (5th season at South Carolina), 212-127 (10th season overall)
TV: CBS
Radio: Gator IMG Sports...

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Florida Gators vs. Wisconsin preview: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

What to know: (4) Florida Gators basketball vs. (8) Wisconsin Badgers

Game Information

When: Friday, March 24, 2017, at 9:59 p.m. (ET)

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, N.Y.

Records: Florida (26-8, 14-4 SEC); Wisconsin (27-9, 12-6 Big Ten)

Coaches: Mike White- 47-23 (2nd season at Florida), 148-63 (6th season overall); Greg Gard- 42-17 (2nd season at Wisconsin/overall)

TV: TBS

Radio: Gator IMG Sports Network

Projected...

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Sweet 16 preview and more for the Florida Gators: Podcast

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we're joined by Zach Hughes who helps us recap the Florida Gators basketball team's Sweet 16 berth, plus preview the game against Wisconsin.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre ask Hughes what it's going to take for the Gators to beat Wisconsin and also how the Gators big men are playing lately.

Andrew and Nick also recap the Florida Gators football team's latest practices, plus how the diamond sports did this past weekend on the road.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew...

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Leon leads Florida Gators basketball to blowout win

It was all Gators in Orlando, as the Florida Gators basketball team propelled its way into the Sweet 16 with its huge 65-39 win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
It was supposed to be a low scoring squad between these struggling offenses and efficient defenses and for the most it was all Florida on the offensive end. The Cavaliers only had 17 points in the first half which is the lowest it has been held to all season. For the Gators it was Devin Robinson and Justin Leon who helped the Gators first half. KeVaughn Allen remained cold for the time being. Florida concerted on a last second bucket...

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Florida Gators basketball hungry for an NCAA Tournament win

Unlike most teams that got into the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, the Florida Gators did not throw a party in the locker room or get too excited when it was announced that East Tennessee State would be their opponent.

It should have been a special moment for a team that has not made the tournament in two years, but a poor finish to the season left the Gators with a bad taste in their mouths. Florida players knew it would be a tough week ahead and changes would need to be made to have success in the tournament.

“No one likes losing, so the mood right now is ‘We’ve lost two in a row’....

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Saying goodbye to the Florida Gators basketball seniors

A crowd of 10,978 said one final goodbye to four seniors on Wednesday night as the Florida Gators got a 78-65 win over Arkansas. Unlike many senior nights, Florida’s was not one of sadness, but instead was one of gratitude and respect.

The Gators recognized Schuyler Rimmer, Canyon Barry, Justin Leon and Kasey Hill, in that order, giving each player a chance to give a personal goodbye to the crowd with his family by his side.

Following the pre-game ceremony, starters for each team were announced, and for the first time all season, all four Florida seniors were on the court together to...

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Florida Gators basketball photo gallery from the Arkansas game

The Florida Gators basketball team clinched the number two seed in the SEC tournament on Wednesday night when they defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks.

GatorCountry was live at senior night as the Gators took down the Razorbacks and we bring you a photo gallery from all of the action.

David Bowie brings you the photos to remember the four seniors, plus to remember how the Gators defeated Arkansas.

PHOTO GALLERY:

...

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Florida Gators basketball preview for Kentucky game

What to know: #13 Florida Gators basketball at #11 Kentucky

Game Information

When: Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 2 p.m. (ET)

Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.

Records: Florida (23-5, 13-2 SEC); Kentucky (23-5, 13-2 SEC)

Coaches: Mike White- 44-20 (2nd season at Florida), 145-60 (6th season overall); John Calipari- 240-52 (8th season at Kentucky), 643-190 (25th season overall)

TV: CBS

Streaming: CBS Sports App

Radio: Gator IMG Sports...

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Florida Gators look to finish season strong on the road

The Florida Gators will hit the road twice this week and three times in their next four games. It’s a tall task for any team but Mike White’s team has made the road a home away from home this season.

Florida was forced to play its first 12 games away from Gainesville as Exactech Arena was being renovated and they’ve put together a 13-4 record away from home. Those first 12 games helped the team bond as they spent more than a month traveling together on busses, planes and hotel rooms. White, realizing the stress all that traveling can create has changed his normal practice...

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Florida Gators basketball with a tough win against Texas A&M

A large part of Saturday’s game felt eerily similar to the only other two noon tipoffs of the season against Georgia and Vanderbilt several weeks ago. The Florida Gators basketball team was just sluggish throughout several stretches in the game against Texas A&M.

The Gators looked at a loss for a source of energy. It felt like a game Florida simply wasn’t going to be able to do enough in, after pouring out so much energy over the previous five-game stretch of wins by double figures.

Florida did start the game at a pretty good pace, going up by as many as 11 with a 24-13 lead...

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Florida Gators basketball preview for Kentucky game

What to know: #24 Florida Gators basketball vs. #8 Kentucky Wildcats

Game Information

When: Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 8:15 p.m. (ET)

Where: Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.

Records: Florida (17-5, 7-2 SEC); Kentucky (18-4, 8-1 SEC)

Coaches: Mike White- 38-20 (2nd season at Florida), 139-60 (6th season overall); John Calipari- 235-51 (8th season at Kentucky), 638-189 (25th season overall)

TV: ESPN

Streaming:...

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Florida Gators basketball rolls past LSU

The Florida Gators basketball team had a historic win over the LSU Tigers on Wednesday night in Baton Rouge 106-71. The Gators made a school record 19 three pointers in a game. It was a big win for Mike White snapping a two game losing streak on the road against the Tigers. The Gators came roaring out of the gate in the first half seemingly hitting every shot they attempted.

Eight players scored for the Gators in the first half with Robinson leading the way with 14 points. Florida made 11 three points in the first half on 15 attempts; a good sight just a week after not making a single...

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Florida Gators basketball suffers first home loss to Vanderbilt

It was a battle from the start between the Florida Gators basketball  (14-5, 5-2 SEC) and Vanderbilt Commodores (9-10, 3-4 SEC). In a game that finished with 10 lead changes and nine times tied, the Commodores came out with a victory in the final seconds.

The 68-66 loss was the first home loss of the season for the Gators and the second consecutive loss after falling to South Carolina earlier in the week.

Down by two with 32 seconds remaining, Florida opted not to foul Vanderbilt and came up with a KeVaughn Allen steal with nine seconds to go in the game. Allen was forced to throw up a...

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Florida Gators basketball preview for Vanderbilt game

What to know: #19 Florida Gators basketball vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

Game Information

When: Saturday, January 20, 2017 at 12 p.m. (ET)

Where: Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center

Records: Florida (14-4), (5-1 SEC); South Carolina (8-10), (2-4)

Coaches: Mike White- 35-19 (2nd season at Florida), 136-59 (6th season overall); Bryce Drew- 8-10 (1st season at Vanderbilt), 132-59 (6th season overall)

TV: CBS

Streaming: CBS Sports...

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Florida Gators basketball falls to South Carolina on the road

The Florida Gators basketball team suffered their first SEC loss on Wednesday against the South Carolina Gamecocks 57-53. It was a sloppy game from start to finish, but a game that the Gators were lucky to be in after making many mistakes and not making a single three-pointer, going 0-15 on the night.

It was a sloppy start to the first half as both teams came out struggling shooting a combined 0-10 to start the game. The first points of the game weren’t scored until after the first media under 16-minute timeout. By way of Kasey Hill’s 11 first half points, the Gators were able to...

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Florida Gators basketball preview for the Georgia game

What to know: #23 Florida Gators basketball vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Game Information

When: Saturday, January 14, 2017, at 12 p.m. (ET)

Where: Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.

Records: Florida (13-3), (4-0 SEC); Georgia (11-5), (3-1 SEC)

Coaches: Mike White- 34-18 (2nd season at Florida), 135-58 (6th season overall); Mark Fox- 137-108 (8th season at Georgia), 260-151 (13th season overall)

TV: ESPN2

Streaming:...

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Multiple facets create a winning performance for Florida Gators basketball

When the Florida Gators basketball team left the Stephen C. O’Connell Center court after defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 87-83 on Wednesday night, head coach Mike White needed a minute to catch his breath back.

“Last minute of the game I feel like I aged a year. [Arkansas] would not go away. They were incredible offensively.”

The last surge by the Razorbacks though was just one part of a game with many facets. This mid-week matchup provided the Gators with multiple story lines coming out of the game, and future opponents more to worry about in the scouting report.

There was...

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Florida Gators banged up but resilient heading into Arkansas game

The Florida Gators basketball team might be trotting onto the court Wednesday night covered in Band-Aids.

They’re a beat up team right now, with a litany of injuries sustained over the past few games, but resilient through it all.

Despite their toughness though, head coach Mike White and his medical staff will still have a close eye on most of their bench as the Gators take on SEC foe the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“We’re actually a little banged up,” understated White.

“With [Alex Murphy] Murph being out and Schuyler [Rimmer] just getting back into a rhythm. Kevarrius Hayes...

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Florida Gators basketball defeats West Virginia

Emotions ran high from the start as the Florida Gators basketball team defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 88-71 on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.

Before the game even tipped off, competition was starting at midcourt when some pushing and shoving between the two teams led into the National Anthem.

Emotions stayed high as center John Egbunu won the tip off and Dorian Finney-Smith hit a 3 just 11 seconds into the game. It gave Florida a lead that they wouldn’t give up.

The Mountaineers were able to follow quickly with a layup to make it a one-point game—the closest they...

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Florida Gators Basketball hoping to immitate West Virginia in key matchup

“I don’t want to say we’re trying to be exactly like West Virginia – although if we were, we’d be pretty good.”

Florida Gators basketball head coach Mike White was brutally honest when discussing his team’s Saturday matchup against No. 9 West Virginia.

The Mountaineers come into Gainesville ranked in the top 10 in turnovers forced (1st, 19.8), steals (1st, 10.8), 3-pointers allowed (1st, 4.5), 3-point percentage defense (2nd, .268), offensive rebounds (2nd, 16.7) turnover margin (6th, +5.3) and rebounding margin (tie-9th, +10.1).

It’s a product of their coaching, says...

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Florida Gators basketball takes another twist with loss to Vandy

The Florida Gators basketball team has taken Gator Nation on a roller coaster ride of a season, and it took another twist on Tuesday night in Nashville versus the Vanderbilt Commodores. In fact the game itself, which saw Florida lose 60-59, was filled with its own set of twists and turns.

The Gators came riding in hot off a three game winning streak; much like the slow ascent that builds the excitement and anticipation before dropping the cars down a steep decline and then whipping back around like a snake without a head before beginning it’s next series of moves on the track.

The...

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Florida Gators basketball loses close one at Vanderbilt

The Florida Gators basketball team (13-7, 5-3 SEC) took a tough loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores — snapping a three-game winning streak — on Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee at 59-60.

It took a few minutes for points to get on the board, but Vanderbilt’s Damian Jones gave the Commodores its first lead of the game with a layup with 18:46 left in the half. From there, it looked as if it would be back-and-forth play for a close game as the Gators came back with a free throw from Justin Leon and a tip-in from Dorian Finney-Smith to get a 3-2 lead.

After the Gators gained the...

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Florida Gators Basketball Comfortable in Play Heading to Vandy

Time makes the heart grow fonder and in the case of Florida Gators basketball head coach Mike White, it has certainly made his mindset more comfortable. While the first year Gators head coach has come to know his young team, they’ve also gotten to know each other, making for a much more fluid group of athletes as the season progresses.

“A lot more comfortable than I was a couple of months ago,” says White.

“And I think our players are more comfortable and our entire staff. As a program, we have a better handle on who we are, on what our strengths are, what our focus should be...

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Florida Gators Basketball Prepare for Road Test Against Vanderbilt

The Florida Gators basketball team (13-6, 5-2 SEC) is coming off of a three-game winning streak as they head to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (11-8, 3-4 SEC) on Tuesday, January 26 at 9 p.m.

Florida is 63-65 all-time against Vanderbilt, but has won seven of their last nine meetings. However, this road game will be a challenge for Florida as they play in Memorial Hall that sophomore point guard Chris Chiozza likened to a theater.

“It might be the toughest place to play in the league. It's dark. It's like playing in a theater,” Chiozza said of the unusual...

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Florida Gators basketball cruises to 95-63 win over Auburn

The Florida Gators basketball team (13-6, 5-2 SEC) demolished the Auburn Tigers (9-9, 3-4 SEC) on Saturday night by 32 points, taking their fifth conference win 95-63.

Despite Florida winning the tip, the Gators quickly turned it over resulting in a basket from Kareem Canty. If the first minutes of the game dictated the game, it looked as if this would be a back-and-forth battle. However, the Gators refused to have Auburn, a team that’s 1-5 on the road, take them down easily.

The Gators quickly responded with early three-balls from Justin Leon and Dorian Finney-Smith, with Finney-Smith...

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Florida Gators Basketball Prepares for Next Test In Canty

The Florida Gators basketball team has had its share of dealing with superstars so far this season, especially during SEC play.

Ben Simmons, Stefan Moody and Gavin Ware have come in on a wave of praise; ready to present problems for head coach Mike White and his team. Instead though, the Gators have been able to handle these players with a concentrated effort and game plan.

Now the next test comes to town in the form of Kareem Canty the Auburn Tigers junior point guard.

Canty is the Tigers leading scorer, averaging 19.4 per game and shooting .408 overall. In Auburn’s last two...

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Florida Gators beat themselves at the free throw line

Sophomore guard Chris Chiozza stole the Texas A&M inbounds pass and looked up at the clock. With just five seconds left in the game and the Florida Gators down three, Chiozza dribbled, pulling up behind the three-point line and fired away. His shot clanged off the rim and into the hands of Anthony Collins, who held on to the ball to secure the Aggies’ third win in Southeastern Conference play. The game might have been officially over on Chiozza’s missed three but Florida lost the game on the free throw line and with careless ball security. The No. 21 ranked Aggies forced...
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